TV Time: Castle 6.08

Castle 608

Title A Murder Is Forever

Two-Sentence Summary The murder of a relationship expert leads to discoveries about the secrets of elite power couples and one very large diamond. Meanwhile, Castle and Beckett struggle to find a balance between their individual stories and the story they’re telling together.

Favorite Line “I actually like those elephants. They obviously have family values, and this one’s good with money.” (Castle)

My Thoughts “A Murder Is Forever” was the big debut for Castle’s other husband-and-wife producing/writing team, Dara and Chad Creasey. And for a first outing as writers, I have to applaud them. Not only did they get the unique tone of the show right from start to finish, they did a great job of incorporating all of the characters from the 12th precinct and balancing the Castle/Beckett relationship with the plot. All in all, it was one of the most balanced episodes of the season, and it makes me excited for what’s to come from this pair.

The case itself was full of the twists and turns one expects from Castle. I honestly didn’t guess who the killer was until about a second before the show revealed it, and those are my favorite Castle cases—the ones that keep me guessing until the end. This twist made sense, and it provided for another of my favorite Castle viewing experiences: when the camera lingers on the real killer for just enough time for us to put the pieces together.

This episode was about dominance in relationships and what happens when there’s a shift in dominance. The killer lived her life as the less dominant half of a “power couple,” or so it seemed. But murder was her way of not just reasserting her husband’s dominance in the diamond game but asserting some sense of dominance in her marriage.

The discussion of dominance was reflected in a different way by all of the scenes in the interrogation room, the place that Beckett owns—her home, her territory. The episode ended with Castle stating that they’re both Alphas, and never is Beckett’s Alpha status more evident than when she’s in the interrogation room. Stana Katic absolutely killed those scenes in this episode; her controlled fire is always a great sight to behold.

Ryan and Esposito also got to play around with the theme of dominance in a great scene that showed them arguing over who had the most masculine energy in their dynamic duo. (And I’m sorry, Esposito, I, for one, happen to love Ryan in his sweater vest.) These two got to take the lead in a number of scenes in this episode, and I was so happy for it. I feel like the D.C. arc and the Alexis arc took the attention away from the precinct for a while, and I’ve missed my favorite TV bromance getting its time in the spotlight. And I’m serious about the bromance thing: No male friendship on TV feels as natural as this one. Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever are perfect scene partners.

I always love Castle episodes that weave the case and the Castle/Beckett relationship together with ease, and that’s exactly what “A Murder Is Forever” did so well. Castle and Beckett’s interactions in this episode were a playful battle of wills that ended with a new sense of equality between them.

The opening banter about Linus the Lion (Best name ever or best name ever?) was pitch perfect for these two characters. It was nice to see them in bed together, having a conversation and subsequent clash of opinions that happens for all couples when they start moving towards cohabitation. Castle has always liked strong women, but he’s never been with a woman as strong or as independent as Beckett, and it’s realistically taking some getting used to. Katic brought a real feisty energy to Beckett in this episode, sharp and sassy in the best sense. Her line about letting Castle into her territory was a delicious little innuendo, and Nathan Fillion had the perfect reaction to it. The two of them played off each other especially well in this episode, bantering with characteristic ease infused with a nice spark of tension.

I loved that the tension was playful rather than a serious impediment to their relationship. It’s nice to see that, after five seasons of worrying that any little thing could drive a wedge between them and cause walls to come back up, they’re beyond that and interacting with a real sense of certainty and confidence. Although I am ready for Beckett to officially move into the loft sometime soon or at least to have an episode exploring why she hasn’t yet. There’s a story to be told there, and I’m ready for that next step to be taken (and I think the characters are, too).

In the end, Castle was right: They’re both Alphas, and that’s what makes this relationship so inspiring. Castle loves that Beckett is a dominant personality, but he’s no doormat. They’re both attracted to each other’s strength. They’re both people who never needed another person to complete them, but they chose to share their lives with each other. And that’s more romantic to me than any speech about someone being unable to live without a romantic partner. By putting up the seashells and moving Linus, Castle showed Beckett that he values the life they’re building together. No, he’s not going to change everything in his room for her, but she would never ask him to do that. They’re equals, partners writing a new story together while still honoring the fact that they each have their own stories, too. That’s such a great analogy (and so fitting for Castle as a writer and Beckett as a fan of his books). We all are writing our own stories, but finding real love is about finding someone you want to write a story with.

I think Beckett said it best: “I like our story.” So do I, Beckett. So do I.

 

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35 thoughts on “TV Time: Castle 6.08

  1. I agree with most of your thoughts about this episode. And I am indeed looking forward to more from these two writers. The witty banter was back and so enjoyable! But I really disagree with you about Castle being an Alpha! In fact I think the knowing smile on Kate’s face when she tries not to laugh when he says they are both alpha’s is so cute. Kate is an Alpha for sure. But Castle..no way. But that doesn’t mean that they are not equals. They both have strengths and weaknesses that they respect in each other.

    The one thing I didn’t get was the last couple of seconds, looks like Kate was going to lean in and kiss him and he scurries away? maybe I missed something, will have to watch it again.

    They still have to show a bit more physical action between these two. They are supposed to be a great love story. Still acting a bit like close friends but not much heat between them. We don’t need too much, but come on they are not brother and sister!

    • Thank you so much for the comment! I agree that there was something a little off about the blocking for that hug, but otherwise I’m okay with it being a hug instead of a kiss. There was enough warmth between them in this episode for me to believe they’re an engaged couple, but it doesn’t take much to satisfy me in that regard, if I’m being honest.

      And about Castle’s Alpha or non-Alpha status…I think Kate is definitely the more dominant one in the relationship on most occasions, but Castle has had his share of Alpha moments, too. He has been strong for her and in even opposition to her on many occasions, and he’s not afraid to stand up to her if he feels he’s right. I’m of the mind that a relationship can succeed with two Alphas as long as they both respect each other’s need to assert their dominance sometimes, and I think that’s what this episode was about.

    • What I love most about the love scenes is the fact they are not graphically played out. There’s heat there in the anticipation. The valentines day drawer and Castle not been able to undo the buttons on the shirt, the cursed DVD with Beckett walking off stating the ice cubes are melting are two of my favourites

      Seeing bodies thrashing shows the physical passion but after a while it loses the impact. Yes we know they are getting it on, we’ve seen the passion at the end of Season 4, but if the bedroom scenes are only about the physical action then it diminishes and makes it harder to have the tender playful moments. The prank Beckett plays on Castle with the rise of the machines, Beckett lamenting the fact she doesn’t have a job, Castle bring Beckett coffee and the paper watching her sleep, are some of the best bedroom scenes that highlight how in love this couple are. Sure in a relationship there is the physical side, but if a relationship is only based on the physical then there is not much of a foundation for anything substantive.

      As love stories goes, I’ve only witnessed two, we’ll maybe 3 that rate highly. Castle/Beckett, Chuck/Sarah and Crichton/Aeryn Sun. Something I just realised is that in all of these the women are strong characters in their own right.

  2. Hi Katie. This is why I love reading your reviews as I miss most of the subtle personal interactions (it’s an Aspie thing).

    My initial reaction to this episode was it felt very much like a filler. Everything felt contrived and the introduction of Linus felt like a setup for the final scene. The Gorilla’s in the mist premise, which Linus so conveniently happened to fit into, initially offered an interesting story, but then descended into farce with the whole writer of romance self help books. I mean really a noted primatologist gives up the life to write books on human interactions and relationship issues. I just couldn’t see someone like Dian Fossey in this situation. The final reveal felt as though an opportunity had been lost.

    The introduction of Linus felt like a lazy convenience, unlike the Elephants as we’ve seen them on Beckett’s desk previously. Yes it did fit in with the origins of our victim yet it felt artificial. Beckett has been sleeping over now for at least 18 months, and only now the picture creeps her out.

    However the final scene was the one that put a lump in my throat. Something that is now uniquely Caskett, and a symbol that there is a history between the pair (Lanies advice rings through here), a history that is now proudly on display.

    • :::whispering::: Linus has been on Castle’s bedroom wall as long as the elephants have been on Beckett’s desk. Pretty much from the beginning.

      • Oh dear. Now I’m going to have to go back and watch every episode again. Good thing too as I’m almost through watching Chuck. Only 4 episodes to go.

          • I just watched Chuck versus the baby. I have to say that season 5 is the best. Every time I see Casey though I find myself humming ‘The hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne’, and whenever he picks up a sniper rifle I’m waiting for him to look lovingly at it and call it Vera.

            Favourite part though had to be the Pants box. I laughed so hard at that. Was better than project Toes In The Sand.

            • I love Season 5 of Chuck. They way they handled the entire Chuck/Sarah relationship was beautiful and so natural. And yes, every time I see Casey I also get the best kind of Firefly flashbacks. 😉

    • Hi Mark! Thanks so much for the comment, and I have to say that I agree with you about how long it took Beckett to be creeped out by Linus. I know some people keep things in for a long time, but it felt weird that it took her this long to say that he bothered her. I suppose sometimes I can hand-wave things like that away in service of the plot, and that’s what happened here. It worked for the story they wanted to tell, and I found myself able to suspend my disbelief after realizing that.

  3. Yay! Glad the day allowed you to write the review!

    After the last few episodes, this one was a breath of fresh air. I completely agree that it was great to see ALL of the 12th Precinct Family back in action and contributing to the crime solving. These are the episodes I like the most. Also, I give a big thumbs up to Chad and Dara Creasey. They have the Castle/Beckett relationship down.

    I am going to disagree with you on one thing – I don’t see Castle as an alpha at all. That’s why he and Beckett balance each other so well. It’s Yin and Yang. However, Beckett definitely knows when and how to let him THINK he’s one. That’s what makes her so awesome! Also, I think Castle has always exhibited a “neediness” when it comes to having someone in his life. He needs to be surrounded by family, friends and, at one point, beautiful women. But, when it comes to Beckett he doesn’t need her; he wants her. The same goes for Beckett wanting Castle. That’s where, like you said, they’re helping each other grow.

    • I really think that’s true about Beckett and Castle’s relationship. It isn’t need based, it’s desire based. They want each other which is what makes the effort and compromises worth doing. Although, I completely agree that Beckett played him like a fiddle. I love the “If you don’t like the elephants, I don’t like the elephants.” Dripping with deliberate manipulation and it was fantastic!

    • Thanks, Lindsay! The day was very busy (darn “real work” for getting in the way of spending all day on here!), but I’m glad you liked the review!

      I do agree that Castle and Beckett balance each other out well, but I think it’s because they’re both different types of Alphas. Beckett is more traditionally dominant, but Castle has his own ways of exerting dominance, especially when it comes to using his connections and influence to get his way or standing up to Beckett when he feels she’s going from Alpha to…is there something more intense and dominant than Alpha? I’m thinking specifically of those moments when her mother’s case took hold of her, and Castle acted very much the Alpha in telling her when she was losing herself. Like you said, though, it’s Yin and Yang. They’re never overly dominant at the same time or in the same way, and that’s why they work.

      And I’m so happy you also see their relationship as one based on want and choice rather than a desperate kind of neediness. It’s what makes them such a mature and real love story.

  4. I agree with 90% of your fantastic review. But I very much disagree with your assessment of Castle as an alpha. Certainly not when it comes to women. I think the show wants you to see he is a strong man, steel-like if the situation demands, but they haven’t ever written him as an alpha when it comes to the women in his life.

    Kate quite clearly is the alpha in the relationship. No question, and Stana’s smirk at that moment backs that up.

    His mother also is the alpha in their relationship, although granted that one is more complicated and probably down to a deference and respect he automatically gives his mom.

    His daughter treats him like that doormat you say he isn’t. Without even the respect he shoud get by simple means of being an amazing father to her. Castle is the very definition of a doormat when it comes to Princess Alexis and always has been. That has been my main issue with the show this season. Yes, Alexis, no Alexis, just how high should I jump, Alexis. So yeah, I’m afraid Richard Castle is a doormat too.

    So while he is a strong and dependable man, and when the situation calls for it he can be as dangerous and deadly as needed, the show has never, ever written him as a relationship alpha in my opinion. Whether than be a romantic relationship or otherwise (especially with women). They play him too much for laughs for them to now suddenly try to make the ‘alpha’ thing sound like anything more than mocking.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. While I agree that Castle respects the strong women in his life (and is often, especially lately, walked all over by his daughter), I think he’s demonstrated Alpha moments even if he’s not a traditional Alpha male. The very foundation of his relationship with Beckett was an example of him asserting his dominance and using his influence and power with the mayor to establish a connection with her. No, he’s not the most overtly Alpha male character on TV, but I don’t think he’s a total doormat, either. That’s what makes him so interesting; he’s just as layered as Beckett.

  5. OK, it took 8 episodes, but we finally hit an episode that didn’t grab me. It’s odd because I am of two minds. I think the Creasey’s did a terrific job of jumping right into the heart of Castle and Beckett’s dynamic and that the episode set up a really great treasure trove of adjustments this couple is going to have to make as they move towards spending their lives together. What this episode did wonderfully was show just how fertile that ground is and how well Fillion and Katic play in that space.

    I just didn’t like the case. I found it dull and not particularly compelling. There were one too many red herrings for who could of done it and it felt more about the diamond and not the victim. What I love about Castle is that they get justice for the families and the victims. It is what makes the show more than a mystery/procedural. Here there was no attachment to the actually person who died. It was all about the stone. So in the third act when the story got very convoluted about manufactured diamonds it really just meandered in a way that completely lost me. I can name a handful of cases over the years that just didn’t grab my attention and this one ranks among them.

    However, all was not lost. Because while I had no interest in the case of the week, I appreciated the parallel it created for Castle and Beckett’s relationship. It offered terrific scenes that wove together the sarcastic irreverent banter of the early seasons with the knowing intimacy of the couple they’ve become. Whether it was the opening bedroom scene or Castle’s failed attempts to find points of comparison. Lions, elephants and seashells OH MY. Looking at the relationship through this prism of alphas was fun. It was also a very nice way to introduce a concept that is going to play into many of the aspects of the relationship they will need to negotiate as a couple and as they build their lives together. I agree with you that I enjoyed seeing the ‘whole gang together’ this episode. But this one left me craving for one that was in keeping with some of their best like Last Call and The Double Down.

    Now as for the final scene. Count me as those in the camp that didn’t require a kiss or something more in the close of the episode to tie off that moment. I thought the moment resonated on a couple of levels. It was a nice companion moment to Beckett giving Castle the drawer last season. These are two people who are not only alphas, they are self reliant and have never really needed to open their world in a way that accommodates someone else. When Kate gives him space in her home literally Fillion’s reactions show us just how significant it is. It is the moment that he knows they are the real thing, they are more than the build up of their relationship to that point. Here, we see Rick return the gesture. Making room for their memories is a deliberate step towards the loft beginning to reflect their lives. It was a romantic, simple gesture stripped of grandeur or ulterior motive. I love again Fillion’s reaction to how successful the gesture is received. That competitive man-child is alive and well. The hug was intimate for me in a way a kiss might not have been, because the hug allows us to see Kate’s vulnerability in that moment. It allows Katic to do something she has done really well in opportune moments with Castle, to let down the strong, bold exterior to show a giddy tenderness that it is obvious few people have ever seen. It feels like it is a side of Kate that only her father and mother and perhaps Royce have seen in her. It’s a wonderful little moment that I think captures the depth of this love story. The best Castle and Beckett moments over the years have been quiet, simple nuanced glances, not demonstrative displays of affection. Because it is in the moments when no one is looking (theoretically) that the true emotion lies. It is why the use of coffee, ‘always’ and for me whenever Castle leans in with his chin on his fist to listen to some new secret Beckett is about to share all combine to draw us in as viewers and invest in these characters in a way that is capable of taking our breath away.

    • Another A+ comment, especially about the Castle/Beckett dynamic in that last scene.

      But before we get to that, I can see where you could get bored with the case. Like you said, there was no real emotional connection with the victim, and that’s something all the best Castle cases have in common. It did a good job of setting up the Castle/Beckett action, though. I especially liked what you said about the parallel between this last scene and the scene with the drawer. Both Castle and Beckett are used to having the power to keep people out of the parts of their lives they want to keep private (we see it all the time with Beckett and with Castle in his relationships with both Meredith and Gina). But now they are both faced with having the power to let the other in and to share their lives in a way they never had to before. And that’s what this ultimately boils down to—sharing. Neither is completely dominant or completely submissive/passive. They have a balance unique to their relationship, and it’s beautiful to watch.

  6. I also just read through the comments and wanted to throw a vote towards Castle being an alpha. The sheer fact that he positioned himself into the situation where he shadowed Beckett is proof that he is an alpha. His ability to access, navigate and influence information out of complete strangers has been shown throughout the series. It is something that is established early in the show and what makes his pursuit and relationship with Beckett compelling, because she can’t be swayed the way he so easily has swayed others. One of my favorite lines in the series is when he calls his guy at the CIA and Beckett questions him about it and his response is ‘When are you gonna learn I’ve got a guy everywhere’. It is a truism that has played out over time and while Beckett’s alpha plays quite differently they are both centered on an ability to influence. So I am with Katie — two alphas are making that loft a home.

  7. Great review Katie! I liked this episode too. Like you said, it was one of the more balanced eps of this season so far, which was nice to see. The Castle-Beckett banter was hilarious, and that last scene was one of my favorites of the season. I guess I don’t really have much to add, this ep was a lot less controversial than the past few with Alexis have been! Looking forward to next week, that promo was intense!

  8. I love their story so much. It is the best love story journey ever. Beckett played Castle so well and he was more than happy to oblige because he loves her so much.

  9. Hey, great review, very very deep!
    I agree with the Alpha-Castle theory, he’s totally an alpha, just a bit “sensitive” to female fashination but remember the Target-Hunt episodes: he’s an Alpha!
    This episode was cool, nice case (not the best though), and it was more on Caskett evolution than on diamonds. We had episodes on Alexis and, up to now, a real few time to see real emotional developments between Castle and Beckett. In this episode we could see their lifes getting togheter, not just love, kisses, romantic stuff, but real relationship issues that was faced in Castle way: mature and childish at the same time.
    This series is getting better and better in exploring the Caskett duo.
    Thank you for your beautiful reviews and sorry for my english, this morning i am a bit blurred

    • Thank you so much for the comment! And your English looks great to me—no need to apologize at all. Your thoughts really echo mine on this episode, and you said it very articulately. 🙂

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